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What Does Handicap Accessible Mean?

handicap accessible

When building a business or a home for those that are handicapped, there are a lot of angles that need to be covered. First, lets start with some definitions. Accessible means the degree to which a product, service or environment is available to as many people as possible. Also, the ADA states that “the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.” So, what exactly does that mean for you? Carolina Services is here to answer all of your questions on how to make a business or home handicap accessible.

Let’s start with the outdoors. Those who are physically handicapped may have a hard time accessing their yard and keeping it beautiful. Fortunately, there are a multitude of ideas for yards that make them not only handicap accessible but also eye catching. Some ideas would be to put a wide path throughout the yard to not only enjoy it but also to help maintain it. You could also add raised beds to wheelchair height or higher for those who have problems bending over. Hanging baskets are a staple in any outdoor climate and make your outdoors very appealing.

Inside, there are a lot of things to consider to make sure your space is handicap accessible. Make sure you keep clutter and furniture against the walls to keep paths clear. Doors must be 32” wide and hallways 36” wide. Make sure the door thresholds are no more than 1/2” higher than the floor. If you have carpet make sure it is no more than 1/2” thick.Stairs are an option for those who are handicapped. Be sure they are at least 11” wide and it is always a good idea to have handrails on both sides.

To get down to some technical details to make your space handicap accessible, it would be a good idea to make outlets at least 15” above the floor. Light switches and thermostats would need to be no more than 48” from the floor. Workspaces such as desks or kitchen areas can have a few fun choices to make it custom for you. One idea is multi-level countertops. Some shorter ones for those who are in wheelchairs, as well as some taller ones for those who may need assistance walking or need no assistance at all.

Lastly, storage can always be a problem in any space but it can be made more difficult for those who are handicapped. One way to take advantage of upper storage space and keep it handicap accessible is to install adjustable rods that can be easily maneuvered at any height.

There are so many options to choose from to make your space as handicap accessible as you possibly can that the task can be daunting. Make sure you contact Carolina Services and their team will help you customize your office or home to maximize all of your available space.

Photo by: homeowner